Spring 2012 – First Week Impressions (Part 2)

This post reviews Zetman, Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna, Kore wa Zombie desu ka? OF THE DEAD, and Saint Seiya Omega, and Sankarea.

Watching:

Zetman – While my overall impressions of Zetman were largely positive and supportive of the anime, as you can guess, there were some areas I struggled with that feel like an anchor on an otherwise excellent anime.  First, the animation is the energetic and quick which bodes well for an anime chock-full of action and fighting.  The art style and character designs are not only visually pleasing but allow for the inclusion of detail and emotion in the character’s faces from fear to anger to a couple that were used for comedy.  And the characters, though not perfect, are similar enough to realistic people that they are believable in their setting and their actions yet have enough space to allow them to function in the story and the style of comedy this anime seems to enjoy.  I have no complaints about the setting but no praise either until I see more of the ‘players’, the ‘powers’, and the technology of this world.  And the music never really registered with my ears but as long as I don’t rip my headphones off in disgust, it won’t be counted as a negative.  There were other negatives though and those mainly lie in the story and execution of the first episode.  Though in its infancy, the story seems rather tame about superheroes, a supervillain, superpowers and non-super baddies that are super to humans.  The first episode played out like any other superhero story would and virtually paralleled Saint Seiya Omega which I watched earlier in the evening, too.  Not the best start to this competition, especially when a couple scenes felt so forced that I assumed the entire production team were embarrassed to include them in the final product.  And that’s where the second negative comes in, the execution seemed a bit rushed during these sense and, like before, felt unnatural.  The amount of material covered in this episode is likely more than most but it came out rather bumpy in areas and smooth in the rest.  Perhaps it will improve with a smaller material load in future episodes but it could be inherent to the story, too, and be a factor throughout.  Regardless of whether it improves or not, I’ll be keeping this as one of my anime for this season.

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna – Also known as Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine but more appropriately Lupin III: A Pair of Breasts Called Fujiko Mine, the new Lupin series dazzles and delights with a spectacle of magnificent animation, sensational characters, an inciting array of stories, and above all, fun and entertaining storytelling.  Yeah, it’s that good.  Not only is the animation very comprehensive, showing both major and minor motions of the characters and environment but the quality in art style never drops to accommodate these kinetic changes.  In fact, the art style remained impressed throughout the entire episode and the dark pencil lines used to portray shadows and darkness is a distinctive trick that I absolutely love in Lupin.  The episode from start to finish had an durable level of energy that never imagined trending into mediocrity and the story and storytelling made sure to make sure it never crossed the episode’s mind.  And above all, like most Lupin episodes I can remember from my younger years, the first episode was fun and that’s always a requirement for a Lupin anime.  If I had any hesitations with this series, it might be what they try to do with the characters and how they instill character development or more serious themes than previous series.  If they can pull it off, and I have faith they can, then I may welcome these additions to the franchise but I always keep a spot open in case there is unforeseen disappointment or failure down the road.  Oh, and there were tons of shots of bare breasts.  Yeah, it’s a bit much but whatever, that’s the quickest and easiest way to create sexy when sexy is required though I’ll admit Fujiko is plenty sexy in this anime without her needed to go topless through most of it.  Unquestionably a keep for this season.

Kore wa Zombie desu ka? OF THE DEAD – The first season of Kore wa Zombie desu ka? was an entertaining series with a decent assortment of comedy, harem, action, and ecchi.  Without anything revolutionary changing the series between the first season and this one, I expected more of the same and got more of the same.  I also expected the series to show signs of progress from the end of the first season, which were there in the character placement and their relationships, but the first episode seemed to serve as a mere recap rather than the first leg of a race.  The opening indicates an entire new story arc to explore, an obvious modification for this season, but the story isn’t really the reason I watched the first season of this anime, so I’m not sure how excited I am for it to start in the next episode.  What I am interested in is the comedy which had a few hits this episode.  No complaints here since most of the material, though rehashed from the first season, was enjoyable again after a year of absence but there’s nothing to compliment either with minimal new material included.  In fact, the most considerable difference I noticed between this episode and the first series is that Aikawa’s striped panties had more screentime than the entire female cast’s fanservice combined which may or may not be an improvement depending in your views of fanservice and whatnot.  The first episode was pretty unremarkable but nevertheless entertaining and completely watchable.  My greatest fear going forward with this anime for another season is how much screentime Orito gets because I hate his existence and wish he’d die and no one would raise him back and the series would go on without him.  Seriously, I hate his guts.

Undecided:

Saint Seiya Omega – Another anime that began before my Spring season review was completed but another anime I planned to give an episode to see how it performed.  The results are a mixed at best and it doesn’t appear to be one that I plan on keeping this season but it survives another week.  Saint Seiya Omega has a number of positives and negatives which influence my opinion of this anime though the positives aren’t enough to overcome the negatives in determining whether to keep it or drop it.  The positives are, like most of the other anime this season, the animation and art which showed crisp motion during battles and lovely designs of armor and attacks.  It is not on the same level as Lupin or Zetman but above average for anime this season.  The art style blends retro with modern to give it a rebooted appearance which I tend to enjoy but I can’t help but feel oversaturated for this season with a number of other anime attempting to do the same and doing with better results.  Mars is an awesome and inspiring villain and easily the greatest strength of the show but the remaining cast seemed mundane stereotypes from the shounen genre and I can’t imagine anyone being rousing from this cast.  Though the actual fights were only previews of what to come, I thoroughly enjoyed them and am absorbed enough in them to want to see more.  The same can’t be said for the story which ultimately bored me throughout the episode.  The execution throughout the episode seemed rushed and I was horrible confused at some scenes where the cast either had temporary amnesia or didn’t give a shit about what happened in the previous scene a few times.  And the setting, besides the fantastic super powers and Greek mythological themes, was meh.  I’ll give the anime another episode but I believe this is one battle Saint Seiya (Omega) won’t win.

Dropped:

Sankarea – If you’re looking for a rather plain romance anime with safe and generalize anime tropes, rather tame comedy, a rather stereotypical anime cast and the unique flavor of zombies spread throughout, then Sankarea is probably right for you.  That also means that Sankarea isn’t right for me.  What pains me about Sankarea aren’t for the factors listed above but more for how the first episode was laid out.  Here’s how I saw the episode: Chihiro peers from out to window to watch Sanka scream into a well, then he talks about zombies, his family and  the cat, Babu, which he wants to make into a zombie, so he goes to a really obscure, vacated mansion where we get another instance of Sanka screaming again.  More time passes and we see it again, this time culminating in the two meeting and going through probably one of the most derivative and unimaginative dialogues I can remember in anime.  But did Chihiro see her scream three times? Two times? More times? What happened with that structure that seemed to loop around like a moth infatuated with a lamppost?  It was headache inducing is what it was, my chief complaint with this episode, and probably the main reason why I didn’t enjoy this anime.  Besides that, the cast seemed rather unoriginal with character roles being filled by the most popular personality for that role besides… actually, no one.  The love story is so incredibly imposed and artificial that I’d say it’s more unnatural than any zombies that are resurrected in this anime.  The way they met, how they talked, and how Sanka feel in love with Chihiro really killed what remaining hope the anime had with me and unfortunately, there aren’t spells or potions for reviving this anime for me… at least for now.

Unlike the previous impressions post, this one featured three new anime that will be picked up for the season though all three were expected to make it.  The other two that are undecided and dropped for now aren’t really surprises either, though I predicted a better punch from Sankarea and Saint Seiya Omega did better than originally anticipated.  There will be probably two more of these to include the next batch of shows for the Spring and by then, the Spring schedule will be decided and we’ll be locked in for another entertaining anime season!

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  1. #1 by azeriraz on April 6, 2012 - 5:38 AM

    I must say as someone who wasn’t acquainted with the Lupin series I was very happy when I watched the first episode of the new series!

    So Sankarea didn’t meet the hype that it had prior to the season?

    • #2 by avvesione on April 6, 2012 - 6:48 AM

      Great, glad to hear newcomers to the Lupin series were able to enjoy it as much as everyone else. I was expecting there to be some split between the fans of the franchise and newcomers in level of understanding and enjoyment but the first episode made sure to attract both sets of views and keep everything easy for the new fans and still enjoyable for the old ones. Hope a lot of people pick it up now.

      For Sankarea, I’m probably harder on this genre than most other bloggers, but my opinions truly reflect how I felt about that anime. Pretty much the whole scene where Sanka and Chihiro meet and talk feels incredibly forced and every line they say and how they act is carbon-copy for how must other mundane romance animes start out. If you pause right before that scene, act it out in your head and then watch it, I guarantee you’ll be within 85% accuracy. And since I’m already harder on romance more than any other anime, well, it just isn’t the right anime for me. Still check it out though since some people have enjoyed it but this one isn’t for me.

      • #3 by azeriraz on April 6, 2012 - 9:02 AM

        I see what you mean about Sankarea – it did seem a bit forced. Still not bad, it’ll probably ended up making my watch list

        • #4 by avvesione on April 6, 2012 - 9:46 AM

          Yeah, I think this is one of those animes that I don’t like that everyone else enjoys (or at least likes better than me). That actually happens quite often with anime of this type, too.

  2. #5 by Zammael on April 6, 2012 - 10:36 AM

    This quarter I’ll probably be behind on anime, but I’ll chime in nonetheless.

    IMO, Lupin the Third just surperceded Space Brothers as the must-see show of spring 2012, notwithstanding Fate/Zero. Outrageous characters, retro-70s exploitation, plus top notch animation? A great start.

    Probably won’t pick up any of the others — they don’t interest me.

    • #6 by avvesione on April 7, 2012 - 1:32 AM

      Fate/Zero, Space Bros, and Lupin III as your lineup for this season? Sounds like a solid season if you ask me. I do suggest you keep your eyes and ears open for Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope) and Jormungand which will both start this week. I plan on blogging both this season, so you should get a nice insight when I write about them later on. Otherwise, no complaints about your schedule!

      • #7 by Zammael on April 7, 2012 - 7:00 AM

        Forgot to mention Zetman, but it doesn’t seem to hold its own vs the other superior offerings. And I’ll certainly check those out (read some of the Apollon manga and was pleased).

        • #8 by avvesione on April 7, 2012 - 8:03 AM

          Well, in a lineup like that, I guess something will have to be the bottom. And Zetman at the bottom doesn’t sound like a problem to me.

          Can’t wait to see Apollon, it certainly sounds like an anime we all are gonna enjoy!

  3. #9 by Detetiv on April 6, 2012 - 6:37 PM

    Not sure how I feel about the new Lupin’s art style… Quite a LONG throwback there they did w the art style.. Late 60’s-70’s? maybe?

    Hope to watch a little of saint seiya omega… You do have to remember that it’s a spin-off & not in the same continuity to the manga. Surprised they didn’t use anyone who sang the older songs like Kageyama for the new Saint Seiya

    • #10 by avvesione on April 7, 2012 - 1:37 AM

      I’d say it’s a fusion of 70s animation with modern technology which gives it that same kinda feel as 70s but allows for there to be much more motion and detail everywhere which is due to the technology which allows it. It is more 70s than anything else but there are just so many other factors to it that are modern that the art is difficult to classify (at least for me).

      Hope you enjoy Saint Seiya Omega, it seems like the kinda show that you’d enjoy. I’ll be giving it another episode to see how it does and how it improves but I’m not sure how much longer I will keep it.

      • #11 by Joojoobees on April 12, 2012 - 2:48 PM

        Yeah, I thought the 70s stylings combined with modern techniques made for a very compelling spectacle.

        Sankarea is not for me. Period.

        Zetman and KoreWaZombie were both reasonable first episodes, I suppose, but I’m still not expecting much from them, which is fine, because my plate will still be full without them.

        • #12 by avvesione on April 12, 2012 - 8:09 PM

          Yeah, the art style in Lupin is really something. If it were used in a lesser anime than in the Lupin franchise, I’d still watch it since it’s that good but damn, with Lupin, it’s almost irresistable.

          Yeah, Sankarea has some qualities but not my kinda anime. And sorry to hear about maybe not having enough time for Zetman and KoreZombie but we always have to pick and choose anime to watch given our schedules each season. Surprised you watched KoreZombie though given my impression of you through your blog and your comments.

        • #13 by Joojoobees on April 13, 2012 - 2:34 AM

          I thought the first 6 or so eps of S1 were funny and original, but the second half was a disaster. Plotless fan service. I guess I was curious to see if they had any new tricks (answer=no).

        • #14 by avvesione on April 13, 2012 - 6:52 AM

          Ah, yeah, that’s a pretty good descriptor of how KoreZombie was.

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